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tv   [untitled]    February 8, 2012 10:30pm-11:00pm EST

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have the unfortunate combination of a large number of chemical facilities and a high population density, so the consequences of insufficient security are dire. and i regret that this committee has not taken a more proactive approach to securing these facilities, and i'll continue to push for more comprehensive security programs to ensure the safety of my constituents living in the shadow of these facilities. now, to question, the november 2011 report begins to explain why nearly five years after these regulations went into effect not a single site security plan has been approved, and it reveals that this committee was rash, in my opinion, in passing legislation to rubber stamp the program for seven years without investigating or addressing the program's shortcomings. many of us have heard from those in the business community that the cfas program is still strong, and the businesses have done everything they're required to do under the program. according to industry representatives, we should be
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comforted to know the companies that have acted prudently should the department ever begin to conduct them. i hope this is true, but our national security is an inherently governmental function. many members of this committee have worked for years to establish a robust, regulatory structure for chemical facility security, and none should be satisfied with the suggestion that approvals and inspections are insignificant or that the role of the department in this program is insignificant. under secreta undersecretary beers, do you think the department of homeland security should play a role in ensuring that our department is secure? >> i certainly feel that our department has a role and the staff can play a role. >> do you think the department should play a role? do you think they must play a role, that it's absolutely crucial they play a role? >> i think that the original intent of the act is absolutely
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appropriate, and that, yes, the department must play a role. >> would you say the site security plan and approval compliance sections are necessary and important ensure chemical facility security? >> i think that they're absolutely essential to making this program work effectively. >> well, i mean, i agree with everything you said and think the failure of the department to complete security plan approvals and compliance inspections is a very serious issue. i'm glad to see that the department is treating it as such and i welcome the opportunity to work together toward a strong and effective program. but i guess the point i'm really trying to make here is that this committee has a responsibility to put together an appropriate, comprehensive authorization bill and not simply rely on this paragraph or whatever it i it's like this long -- in the appropriations bill that really doesn't give you sufficient guidance or mandates or
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inspection or enforce the capability to do what you have to do. i understand that there's all kinds of problems with the department, but i think the big part of the problem is that you never had a comprehensive authorization bill to tell you what to do and to give you the authority what to do. we can sit here all day and talk about how bad you are, and there certainly are problems, but i think it's our responsibility to do something more comprehensive to provide the guidance, mr. chairman. that's my only point. thank you. >> the gentleman yields back his time. the chairman recognizes the gentleman from ohio for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you very much for being here today. we have such short little time to answer all these questions, but if i could, first, is it my understanding, am i correct in hearing that we spent about $480 million appropriated for the program since its inception? is that correct? >> yes, sir, i believe that's the right number. i can give you the exact number if you want it.
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>> that's ballpark. thank you. and as chairman dingell is very good in giving you questions to answer yes or no, but one thing i want to go back to is the question of working with industry. you said you've been working with industry, but in reading the report that came through and looking at the site security plan that, again, it's been said a little bit earlier that you've received about 4200 smp submissions, that none have been approved. did you ever hear from industry during this time frame that, gee, what's going on? these things have been submitted but we're never hearing back from the department? >> yes. we did receive inquiries from industry about when they were going to be approved? >> do you know how many inquiries you've been receiving? >> i don't have that information at the tip of my fingers. >> do you know when you might have received the first inquiry? >> excuse me? >> do you know when you might have received the first inquiry from industry as to when they
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might have these approved? >> no, i can't tell you precisely when, but i can get you that information. >> because, again, going back to the earlier testimony that when you're looking at five and a half years since the enactment of cfas and that is also the statute itself and four and a half years since the final rule, we'd like to find out when the industry that was being regulated was finding out if they were not being approved. you know, there's quite a time frame there. let me go to the other thing that mr. wulf had brought up a little earlier, saying there is going to be -- i'm sorry, again, i don't have it in front of me, i just kind of wrote it down -- in saying that you'll have an open door policy and not afraid to raise issues. the reason i bring up this stuff is i was a county commissioner for six years years back. we had a regulatory county, we
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oversaw all sorts of things. it wasn't unusual for an employee that worked in one of those departments that served underneath the board of commissioners to bypass their supervisors and call me at home. or being from, you know, a county of 125,000, they would run into you at the county fair, they would talk to you at the grocery fair or they would say, can i talk to you someplacel gem anybody at any time saying, gee, i'd like to talk to you about something? we think there's something going wrong with the program? >> sir, on this particular program, yes, and that's part of the reason that some of the efforts in order to investigate problems took place in the past. with respect to by bapassing th chain of command in order to prevent that particular program, we in management, and i in particular, have meetings with
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either individuals or groups of people throughout nppd that are well down in the chain of command in order to elicit their thoughts and suggestions so we can improve the program overall. >> may i ask this question?
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do you know when you might have started first getting an inclination that there is something wrong with people contacting you, bypassing the chain of command to say there's something really wrong here in personnel or the way the program is being run? >> excuse me. the first instance that i can report to you that this occurred would be in the summertime frame
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of 2010 when it came to our attention because of a report by an individual that there seemed to be a problem with the locality pay. as soon as we found out that that was an issue, we took that on and went through the process to determine what had gone wrong in terms of the appropriate pay to the individuals involved. >> so this would be action to the first inclination, it would be a couple years saw your test really encouraged. the chair in two or three months from now we invite you back to enjoy our hospitality again and see how far along we are. this is an important issue. i know we have substantial issues that are not water based. i have plenty of plants on the water but also plenty of plants that are not. the same company owns them and oftentimes they transfer personnel back and forth. my concern is what was submitted from the omb -- to the omb did not recognize that the twick card, which you said in your testimony, would be used, and i can understand why something regulated by your agency can't apply for a twick card, but it
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seems like in the federal government, we can use the same database. the coast guard, the transportation, and the twick card would be interchangeable. i can tell you some of my folks are going to be frustrated if they end up having to pay another few hundred dollars to get a second card because their company transfers them somewhere. not all companies are really nice, and they say, no, that's part of your requirement for the job. you have to have your driver's license to drive the company car. so that's my concern. the proposed personal security program submits background information on all personnel within 60 to 90 days upon implementation, and you knew the underscored individuals not classified as personnel, even if they had a twick card, their information was to be submitted to dhs 48 hours in advance. was that part of the submittal to omb?
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because that doesn't sound like you're giving twick card consideration. >> sir, i believe that is part of the submittal to omb, and what i am trying to convey here is that we are looking at all of the opportunities to leverage the various cards and want very much to go in the direction that you want to go. >> well, and i know there may need to be an interagency memorandum to work together, and i know sometimes our federal agencies don't like to do that. but we have -- it's redundant information if we're using the same database. and i just don't understand why dhs, as we proposed in two separate legislations earlier, harmonized twick with the background check. is there an incident that i'm not aware of that have existed within the twick system that required dhs to go beyond twick? >> i'm not aware of any, sir.
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>> okay. and it seems to me, because i try to stay pretty close to the ground there with a lot of my folks, and i have not heard one in our area. people may not like some of the chemicals we produce, but there are things -- they produce them because somebody need them in our country, and we want to make sure they're safely produced, both for the people who live around it but the folks in that plant. and every time i talk about the issue with dhs, you assure me they incorporate twick. i just want to make sure it goes forward from that, and i think maybe we'll even contact omb and express that concern, that, don't reinvent the wheel even though we have two separate federal agencies, and hopefully that would come from both agencies, including the department of transportation that uses the same database that you have. mr. chairman, i don't have any other questions. i would be glad to yield back to the colleague from georgia. >> the colleague from georgia yields back his time. mr. harper for five minutes.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman, and certainly thank the two of you for being here today. and mr. wolf, i want to thank you and ms. anderson for the work you've done on this. this may come as a shock, but, you know, it's not always surprising to us to learn that an agency may be dysfunctional. so this is not always a surprise. but we appreciate the candor, and no one should ever be criticized or subject to anything for being very open, which you and ms. anderson have done, so i thank you for that. i believe that gives us some input. but i wanted to ask you a few questions, if i may, mr. wulf. you know, as i look through the report, one of the things that you said sometime were the issue of unions within the organization. can you tell me when the work force in the division was
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unionized? >> i can't give you an exact date on that. it was before ms. anderson's and my arrival, but i want to say spring of last year, in march. >> well, let's -- can you tell me, does each worker have to cast the vote in order for their votes to be recorded as far as do you know how the process works? non-voters are considered voters to unionize how that's counted? >> i'm not completely certain about that process. >> can you get me that information? >> absolutely. >> that would be great. can you tell me how many employees there are in the cfas program and how many are eligible to be represented by government unions and how many affirmatively voted to be represented by unions? >> i don't have the totals on the voting, and i will say there are approximately -- and i don't have the exact numbers in front of me -- a little more than 200
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federal employees in cfas program of those who would be eligible for union members or to have voted for union membership. that would be our field force, nonsupervisory field force, so a little under 100 of those. >> at the time of unionization, were all programmatic and builtability measures and job descriptions in place that applied to that work force? >> as we noted in our report, we are continuing to refine the requirement for the sections and -- >> explain what -- when you started out in your report and you said that the presence of the union at this stage of the program will have a significant negative impact, explain that. >> i appreciate the opportunity to provide a little additional context.
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the report was not intended to be a statement concerning whether unions are god od or ba but this is in the emerging stations and we're in the process of putting into place policies and procedures for the conduct of inspections, for the operation or review of site security plans and so forth. so it certainly adds a layer of complexity that wouldn't otherwise exist. that said, though, along with the union. >> we have a matter of security that has gotten bogged down. does it not make it difficult,
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though, as long as the unions have taken place to implement these policies? are you not seeing that in reference to the mileage reporting? >> it does add a layer of complexi complexity, but this also, i think, adds voices in the development of policies that will allow us to develop more sustainable processes moving forward. >> what was it, 16 weeks that you report for the mileage requirements to be done? >> i believe that was the number. >> i understand the need, that everybody has to work together. the fact is that this has caused delay, has it not? why do i not make you answer that question. i think we know. i appreciate your time, mr. wulf, and for you and ms. anderson to be so candid with your situation. thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentlelady from california for five minutes.
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>> i thank the chairman for recognizing me and i apologize for the state of my voice, but i'm feeling well. and i'm pleased to be here and i thank you both for your testimony. the internal homeland security report from november provide new support creating the cfas program have hindered successful implementation. according to the support, cfas personnel have not yet determined how to review site security plans although the department has set up an interim process to try to get these plans reviewed, staff are still working to develop a process to be used over the long term. apparently many say security plans have to be done and they have to be, and this is a quote, inconsistent with the spirit and intent of the program's mandates.
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mr. beers, would you please elaborate on what the report meant when it stated that site security plan reviews have not been conducted consistently with the spirit and intent of the statutory mandates. >> i can't speak to that. i have made the effort to get site security plans that met the requirement. as the program was rolled out and as it evolved, the guidelines for the information that needed to be provided in the site security plans failed to elicit appropriate responses from industry. some of that undoubtedly was or could have been done better if the guidelines that we have put out had been more clear, and some of it was simply on the
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part of industry not providing that information. i don't mean to suggest in any way that was an intentional act, but it intentional act, but it required us to go back to those particular facilities and ask for more information in order to be able to get to a site security plan, that in fact appeared to meet what we needed to have in order to have a site security plan. that process ended up taking time when those site security plans were initially filed. and that is part of what i regard as the due diligence that we and industry need to undertake together to ensure that a plan that is timely authorized and approved is a plan that is capable of providing the kind of security that you all have charged us to build. but, let me turn to mr. wulf about the specific comment. >> yes, and briefly if you would please so i can go on to another
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question. >> about the site security plan review process specifically? >> well, it just why, these, i'm concerned that these delays have occurred. >> yeah. yeah, we have taken steps to address those through thei theismatitheis execution of our review process, in the last two months, we have quadrupled of the site security plans we have been able to authorize and i think the future is bright moving forward on that path. >> i thank you for that. you are trying. but i appreciate -- and i appreciate the department is working to address these issues. and establish a consistent site security plan review process. i am concerned, however, that flaws in the law make consistency in the review process unvoidable. you may have taken care of this
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one, but it will pop up again, that is because section 550 grants discretion to the secretary to approve security plans, the law says only that the secretary may disapprove a plan that does not meet these standards. i offered a change during the markup that would have changed that word "may "to a "shall." that word may is what causes the problem. and the having to go back and requestion and the time is of the essence when we are talking about homeland security. so, mr. beers, do you agree that site security plans failing to meet the standards should be s disprov disproved? >> our objective is to get the
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yes. so the notion of disapproval doesn't necessarily accomplish that. the point is when we say we are not prepared to approve it. that is the functional equivalent, but what we want to do is have a kwplan to say a pl nee needs clarification. >> we are tries to get these in. >> i believe it should be a requirement so industry is clear about what they need to do. >> mr. cassidy for five minutes. >> thank you, the memo is one, let me commend you for asking it be drawn up. on the other hand, it paints a disaster in terms of acquisition, inventory management, attitudes, i mean it a total dieindietment, if you,
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concede the argument that your job is important for safety, it indietment for the organization, and it puts employees at risk. how many employees does this particular department have? >> i want to say 206. >> 206? >> yes. >> this problem seems such a problem, how many have been fired? i mean, it seems like an easy target because they speak of consistently people being hired because they know somebody. people who are, i mean, you list, you could write somebody's name in here if you only have 206 people. so clearly, it was not -- how many have been fired? how many are going to be fired? >> sir, with respect to the
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issue about the retearing -- >> no i'm just, i mean just a si simple question, clearly there's a problem here. it rife. how many have been fired? a simple question, if you have 206 employees and how many do you have to chopping block? >> sir, with respect to the leadership of the organization, the people who were in the leadership positions in the organization -- >> i have three minutes can i have a number? >> have moved on. >> how many? >> that is two people. specifically. >> so two out of 206, 1% and yet we have people hired here because they know somebody and promoted because they know somebody, and fudging on their gas reports and we have 1%, and i do not mean it to be snitty, but i'm amazed we are tolerat
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tolerateding this level of incompetence. >> we have yet to secure a site security inspection and more over we have not determined what it will look like and this report was reported in the news we have quadrupled the number of compliance reports issued. is that my understanding or is that incorrect? >> it's what we have quadrupled is the number of site security plans we have conditionally authorized which is the step that preseeds the conduct of an authorization inspection which then leads to the final approval of a facility site security plan, sir. >> okay, so, the inindictment of the report stands, six years in and we have yet to come up with a compliance inspection program. it just, i do not know what to say. i do know what to say. clearly there are ways to contract this out. i do not know how you just don't start over with this program.
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i understand the coast guard has the authority to use an alternative security program. can we use an alternative security program, can we use that authorization now since it looks like the current program is so dysfunctional to be beyond rest restittion >> the short answer is yes and i'll let david explain. >> we have alternative security programs that have been submitted by industry stakeholders and we are working very aggressively in a partnership with our industry stakeholders to develop some templates that can be used. we will work through them that will, the hope is allow for more speedy review and approval of -- >> but this does not include
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contracting out to function, correct in can you go to a third party to do the inspection. you are describing a staff that is poorly hired and poorly trained and has a poor attitude and has a sense of law enforcement, who want to be called commander and wear guns and not go through and look at something in terms -- >> compliance inspection is a government function. we we have to have the people that do that be federal employs. >> the coast guard has an alternative standard and they have a third party inspecting oil riggs. >> i cannot speak to the coast guard, i'm not aware. >> okay. i have more to ask. >> they have contractors doing tsa function at some of the airports. it's worth looking into. i would like to yield five minutes to the ranking member of the committee mr. waxman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. none of us are happy about this
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memo that came out last november showing how poorly this program is serving the american public. and this is a serious matter. it's a matter of national security from possible attacks by terrorists on chemical plants. i know all of us are concerned not just the people here in the congress but mr. beers and others in the administration, we have a stark and troubling picture but perhaps there's a silver lining, it seems that the department is taking the situation clearly. but i want to talk about congress's role, it's easy at a hearing like this after we get a report of a failure to beat up on the people running the program. but congress has a responsibility as well. this program was established at an appropriations bill, not a bill that came out of this committee, it was rider on
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